The total number of cows probably stays about the same, because if they had space to raise more cows they would have just done that—I don’t think that availability of semen is the main limiting factor. So the amount of suffering averted by this intervention can be found by comparing the suffering per cow per year in either cases.
Model a cow as having two kids of experiences: normal farm life where it experiences some amount of suffering x in a year, and slaughter where it experiences some amount of suffering y all at once.
In equilibrium, the population of cows is 5⁄6 female and 1⁄6 male. A female cow can, in the next year, expect to suffer an amount (x+y/10), and a male cow can expect to suffer an amount (x+y/2). So a randomly chosen cow suffers (x+y/6).
If male cows are no longer created, this changes to just the amount for female cows, (x+y/10).
So the first-order effect of the intervention is to reduce the suffering per cow per year by the difference between these two, y/15; i.e. averting an amount of pain equal to 1⁄15 of that of being slaughtered per cow per year.
If you want to make a decision, you will probably agree with me that it’s more likely that you’ll end up making that decision, or at least that it’s possible to alter the likelyhood that you’ll make a certain decision by thinking (otherwise your question would be better stated as “if physics is deterministic, does ethics matter”). And, under many worlds, if something is more likely to happen, then there will be more worlds where that happens, and more observers that see that happen (I think this is usually how it’s posed, anyway). So while there’ll always be some worlds where you’re not altruistic, no matter what you do, you can change how many worlds are like that.
When I have a question about the future, I like to ask it on Metaculus. Do you have any operationalisations of synthetic biology milestones that would be useful to ask there?
Tangential to the main point, but what is agmatine, and how would it help someone who suspects they’ve been brainwashed?
This 2019 article has some costs listed:
Fish: “it costs Finless slightly less than $4,000 to make a pound of tuna”
Beef: “Aleph said it had gotten the cost down to $100 per lb.”
Beef(?): “industry insiders say American companies are getting the cost to $50 per lb.”
GiveWell did an intervention report on maternal mortality 10 years ago, and at the time concluded that the evidence is less compelling than for their top charities (though they say that it is now probably out of date).
The amount of carbon that they say could be captured by restoring these trees is 205 GtC, which for $300bn to restore comes to ~70¢/ton of CO2 ~40¢/ton of CO2. Founders Pledge estimates that, on the margin, Coalition for Rainforest Nations averts a ton of CO2e for 12¢ (range: factor of 6) and the Clean Air Task Force averts a ton of CO2e for 100¢ (range: order of magnitude). So those numbers do check out.
You can’t just ask the AI to “be good”, because the whole problem is getting the AI to do what you mean instead of what you ask. But what if you asked the AI to “make itself smart”? On the one hand, instrumental convergence implies that the AI should make itself smart. On the other hand, the AI will misunderstand what you mean, hence not making itself smart. Can you point the way out of this seeming contradiction?
(Under the background assumptions already being made in the scenario where you can “ask things” to “the AI”:) If you try to tell the AI to be smart, but fail and instead give it some other goal (let’s call it being smart’), then in the process of becoming smart’ it will also try to become smart, because no matter what smart’ actually specifies, becoming smart will still be helpful for that. But if you want it to be good and mistakenly tell it to be good’, it’s unlikely that being good will be helpful for being good’.
The signup form for the Learning-by-doing AI Safety workshop currently links to the edit page for the form on google docs, rather than the page where one actually fills out the form; the link should be this one (and the form should probably not be publicly editable).
The Terra Ignota series takes place in a world where global poverty has been solved by flying cars, so this is definitely well-supported by fictional evidence (from which we should generalise).
In MIRI’s fundraiser they released their 2019 budget estimate, which spends about half on research personnel. I’m not sure how this compares to similar organizations.
The cost per researcher is typically larger than what they get paid, since it also includes overhead (administration costs, office space, etc).
One can convert the utility-per-researcher into utility-per-dollar by dividing everything by a cost per researcher. So if before you would have 1e-6 x-risk reduction per researcher, and you also decide to value researchers at $1M/researcher, then your evaluation in terms of cost is 1e-12 x-risk per dollar.
For some values (i.e. fake numbers but still acceptable for comparing orders-of-magnitude of cause areas) that I’ve saw used: The Oxford Prioritisation Project uses 1.8 million (lognormal distribution between $1M and $3M) for a MIRI researcher over their career, 80,000 Hours implicitly uses ~$100,000/year/worker in their yardsticks comparing cause areas, and Effective Altruism orgs in the 2018 talent survey claim to value their junior hires at $450k and senior hires at $3M on average (over three years).
I love that “one person out of extreme poverty per second” statistic! It’s much easier to picture in my head than a group of 1,000 million people, since a second is something I’m familiar with seeing every day.
Are there any organisations you investigated and found promising, but concluded that they didn’t have much room for extra funding?